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This article was published on March 23, 2016


Uber takes Indian rival Ola to court over ‘faking’ ride fares

Uber takes Indian rival Ola to court over ‘faking’ ride fares
Lauren Hockenson
Story by

Lauren Hockenson

Reporter

Lauren is a reporter for The Next Web, based in San Francisco. She covers the key players that make the tech ecosystem what it is right now. Lauren is a reporter for The Next Web, based in San Francisco. She covers the key players that make the tech ecosystem what it is right now. She also has a folder full of dog GIFs and uses them liberally on Twitter at @lhockenson.

There’s a battle waging in India as two ridesharing titans — Uber and the local Ola — clash over who gets to reign supreme. But in a lawsuit filed in the High Court of Delhi and detailed by Bloomberg, Uber claims that Ola used shady, underhanded tactics.

Specifically, Uber says that Ola created more than 90,000 fake Uber accounts, using fabricated phone numbers, for the express purpose of tying up Uber drivers trying to catch fares. These accounts would request rides — an estimated number of 400,000 false bookings — and then cancel them, leaving drivers without riders and gumming up their time.

Ola denies the claims, which apparently occurred in a six-month period between August and February.

It’s not out of the ordinary for ridesharing companies to employ questionable tactics in its efforts to knock out the competition: a blow-out report from The Verge in 2014 exposed that Uber hired “brand ambassadors” to take Lyft rides and convince drivers to make the switch to drive for Uber. These measures were done on top of Lyft’s claims that Uber had also been responsible for calling and cancelling thousands of fares.

Ola is currently a part of a partnership that involves other locally dominant ride-sharing companies — including China’s Didi Kuaidi, Sinapore’s GrabTaxi and Lyft — to band together in the face of Uber’s rapidly expanding presence.

The hearing for Uber’s petition is set for September 14.

Uber Sues Ola Claiming Fake Bookings as India Fight Escalates [Bloomberg]